Much like the other Chris Hemsworth-starrer Cabin In The Woods, Red Dawn was caught up in three years of legal paperwork after its production company went into bankruptcy, but unlike that movie, this one was not worth the wait. Based on the 1984 camp "classic", the original Russian villains were then changed to be Chinese for the remake. However, in these intervening three years, China has become a HUGE market for Hollywood movies, and so, all reference to China has been digitally changed to the less-American movie friendly North Korea.
Kicking off with Jed (Chris Hemsworth) returning to Smalltown USA after serving six years in Iraq, he tries to reconnect with his little brother Matt (Josh Peck), but on the same night there is a massive, East Coast-wide blackout. The next morning they’re rudely awoken by a huge invading North Korean army, whose plan it is to take over America entirely. Why? Well, that’s never really clarified. Having taken over all of Smalltown, the brothers head off to take refuge in their cabin in the woods, collecting the likes of The Hunger Games' Josh Hutcherson and Friday Night Lights' Adrianne Palicki along the way. Cue a training montage where Jed shows everyone how to shoot a gun, how to wire a bomb, and how to kill some North Koreans, then it’s time to head back into Smalltown and reclaim it! Yay, America!
Much like the original, there was a chance that this movie could have been some cheesy, brainless fun, but unfortunately it only got the brainless part right. Director Dan Bradley has been the stunt co-ordinator and second unit director on some of the biggest and best action movies of the last decade - the Bourne series, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol - but there is no evidence of that experience here. Granted, there are lots of explosions, but nothing that could be called a good action scene. The story takes FOREVER to get going, and once it does, it takes forever AGAIN to finish. To top it all off Josh Peck is one of the most singularly annoying, face-punchingly awful actors ever. Boo, America!